More work to be done on aging arena’s roof

Work on the Ray McDonald sport’s Centre’s roof began last fall. – Morinville News File Photo

By Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – After authorizing up to $300,000 to repair leaks to the Ray McDonald Sports Centre’s roof, Council unanimously approved taking a look at additional damage below the roof deck. That work will initially involve a $21,000 investment: $11,000 for a structural review of the roof’s columns, including repair or reinforcement, and an additional $10,000 to hire a specialist to perform a mould assessment in compliance with Occupational Health and Safety regulations.

Water leaking into the roof has caused damage, rotting some supports and creating a mould situation.

In a report received from AECOM Canada Ltd. in conjunction with the repair work done last fall, Town administration learned the arena’s roof deck meets current building code capacity requirements with respect to modern snow loads. Not so for the secondary roof beams, which are acceptable under National Building Code (1970) standards. Additionally, portions of the roof trusses do not meet current or past building codes, according to the AECOM report. In this instance two trusses were found to be 6 per cent below required capacity; however, AECOM considers this to be within acceptable engineering practices and feels it is supported by the long-term performance of the structure. The bottom line – if there is a foot of snow, it had best be removed from the roof.

Morinville’s Director of Public Works said the roof is not in any imminent danger of collapsing. But the age of the facility, coupled with a roof that leaked, has had an impact. “The water infiltration through the roof membrane has resulted in the localized rot of portions of the roof deck and damage to the base of some columns. It has also resulted in mould growth in the building, which was observed during the review of the columns,” the AECOM report reads.

Councillor Lisa Holmes expressed time line concerns and the possibility of closing the arena because of the mould repairs. Valcourt said some types of mould would require it; others would not. “Until we do the assessment, I cannot tell,” Valcourt said.

Also unknown at this time is just how much may be needed to keep the roof going, something that Councillor David Pattison expressed concerns about. “When we approved the $300,000 we didn’t have the level of detail,” Pattison said. “What assurance does Council have that this $300,000 doesn’t become $400,000?”

Pattison was not alone in his concerns about the extent of the work. “It scares the hell out of me,” said Mayor Paul Krauskopf of the prospects of what the studies will reveal.

Valcourt said the original money was strictly for the emergency repairs to the arena roof deck. “That will be pretty much expended completely,” he said. “The additional structural review with the columns will determine what is to be done. It could be minimal. It may not.”

Time for a new rink?

Just how much life is left in the arena is an unknown commodity. Originally an aircraft hanger, the arena was moved to Morinville in the middle of the last century, the current facility built around it.

The AECOM report recommendations encourage the Town of Morinville to weigh the costs of maintaining the arena against replacing it with a new facility. “The service life may be extended through an ongoing maintenance program, regular inspections, and addressing immediate concerns; any maintenance activity may be costly [and] difficult to implement and will only maintain the structure in a marginally acceptable state,” the report reads. “It is recommended the Town of Morinville examine the cost and benefits of maintaining the current arena, versus replacing it with a new structure.”

A project to look into the costs and details of a replacement arena were merged with a study to look into a multi-use recreational facility during 2013 budget deliberations in December. That merging shaved $60,000 off the 2013 budget. Morinville’s Chief Administrative Officer, Debbie Oyarzun, said that plan will provide Council with the info it needs to make those sorts of decisions.

Just when a new arena or multi-use recreation facility will rise over the horizon is unknown. Until then, Council will be faced with authorizing repairs to the aging facility as they arise. Any emergency repairs or mould removal requirements revealed during the upcoming investigations will be brought back to Council for approval.

The following images from the AECOM report show the extent of damages to the Ray McDonald Sports Centre.




Print Friendly, PDF & Email




  1. A structural engineer once said to me that “all structural engineers believe the world is falling down”. The point being that they must think in worst case scenarios.

    What I am wondering is why the damage to the roof was let go for so long. With a laymans renovation level of experience these photos do not appear to show one seasons worth of rot. As far as I have seen that level of rot would take more then three years but probably more like five or more. Again I am not an expert I am just using whatever common sense I may have. I wonder if there no yearly inspection like what most home owners should do. Most responsible home owners poke their head into their attic and look for water damage once a year, go on the roof and look for signs of damage or at least step back and make sure there are no curled shingles. How has the accruing damage escaped our knowledge. Letting a roof rot seems like a lack of regular due diligence. I know flat roof systems are much more costly and complex but there has to be a way for maintenance personal to check quarterly for signs of a problem. They are easy to spot.

    I am concerned that it seems like what is being recommended is a system where we keep a building for 40-70 years, never examine the roof and defer maintenance until it becomes so cost prohibitive to fix we must build a new one. Is this the fate of the new Community Cultural Center and new town building? Are we doing inspections on the roof membranes every quarter. Finding the little brown water mark now can save us big dollars later and new buildings can leak just as easily as old buildings.

    Imagine the cost savings we could have if we chose to build a new arena or recreational building when we out grew the old one through activity level instead of being chased out through rot.

Comments are closed.